A falsehood is a lie. If your mom has an uncanny knack for knowing when you're telling a falsehood, it means she always knows when you're stretching the truth.

The noun falsehood is a slightly fancy or old-fashioned way of saying "lie." It's hard to ever completely trust a friend again once he's told you a falsehood, although sometimes people tell small falsehoods simply to make others feel better. Telling your aunt her pink hair looks fine is a small falsehood, while lying about your grades on a college application is a pretty big falsehood. The Latin root is falsus, "deceived or erroneous."

Definitions of falsehood

n a false statement

falsity, untruth
true statement, truth
a true statement
show 23 types...
hide 23 types...
dodge, dodging, scheme
a statement that evades the question by cleverness or trickery
lie, prevarication
a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth
fable, fabrication, fiction
a deliberately false or improbable account
deceit, deception, misrepresentation
a misleading falsehood
contradiction, contradiction in terms
(logic) a statement that is necessarily false
bill of goods
communication (written or spoken) that persuades someone to accept something untrue or undesirable
humbug, snake oil
communication (written or spoken) intended to deceive
a contradiction between two statements that seem equally reasonable
(logic) a statement that contradicts itself
fib, story, tale, taradiddle, tarradiddle
a trivial lie
(law) a false boast that can harm others; especially a false claim to be married to someone (formerly actionable at law)
walloper, whopper
a gross untruth; a blatant lie
white lie
an unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite)
a deliberately misleading fabrication
a partially true statement intended to deceive or mislead
facade, window dressing
a showy misrepresentation intended to conceal something unpleasant
exaggeration, magnification, overstatement
making to seem more important than it really is
snow job
a long and elaborate misrepresentation
dissembling, feigning, pretence, pretense
pretending with intention to deceive
blind, subterfuge
something intended to misrepresent the true nature of an activity
hanky panky, hocus-pocus, jiggery-pokery, skulduggery, skullduggery, slickness, trickery
verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way
duplicity, fraudulence
a fraudulent or duplicitous representation
equivocation, evasion
a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth
Type of:
a message that is stated or declared; a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts etc

n the act of rendering something false as by fraudulent changes (of documents or measures etc.) or counterfeiting

frame-up, setup
an act that incriminates someone on a false charge
falsification by the use of sophistry; misleading by means of specious fallacies
criminal falsification by making or altering an instrument with intent to defraud
Type of:
dishonesty, knavery
lack of honesty; acts of lying or cheating or stealing

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.